Yesterday, as I was casually flipping channels on television, I wondered why so many Shammi Kapoor songs were being aired. The reason was evident soon- enough- this  wonderful actor had passed away!

Though I  do not exactly belong to his generation, I did grow up listening to songs from his films and watching them- probably much before I was even aware. My parents had moved from Chennai to Bilaspur- the place where my father had his first posting as an officer in the Central Services.  They did not know Hindi. In order to learn the language they took to watching Hindi films in the sole theatre that town boasted of.  When I arrived on the scene, they often took me with them too ( taking turns to carry  me outside the hall when I became restless and started yelling). Among the genre of films which they refer to as “ Bilaspur films”  are the Shammi Kapoor films which soon became their favorite.  Though I was probably unable to appreciate them during the time I saw them at Bilaspur, over the years as we moved around India, “ Man Chahe Geet” and the Sunday films on Doordarshan soon re introduced me to this world of Shammi Kapoor films.
I wonder now why I liked those films and by extension Shammi so much. He was not exactly good looking like his brother Shashi and neither were his films very profound like those of Raj.  He was actually quite comical what with his crazy dancing and head shaking. I remember the song “  Yeh chand sa roshan chehera  where he goes crazy on a shikara and “Tumse Accha Kaun Hai ( janwar)  where he  is hopping around clad in a blanket. What was unique I guess was how he lightened up this emotion called LOVE and brought in the FUN element! That, coupled with some excellent music made those films completely enjoyable!

I am told by my husband that he copied Jerry Lewis and that this was not an original act. But I don’t really care. Imagine how many Indians in small towns and villages would have heard of the American comedian? Shammi probably adapted those mannerisms into an Indian context and popularized them across the country!  

One of my favorite Shammi Kapoor film songs is “Deewana Hua Badal” – the song is interesting in the sense that it begins with the Antara “ Yeh dekh ke dil jhooma…”.  The voice of Rafi  is central to all the Shammi films. It was only fifteen days ago that we remembered Rafi on his death anniversary – interesting coincidence!  Rafi, Asha, S.D., R.D., Shankar Jaikishan, Madan Mohan and O.P. Nayyar are part of this magic.. Shammi Kapoor!  

Some hard to forget songs from Shammi Kapoor films are  “ Dil ke jharokhe mein tujh ko bithakar”, “ Ai gulbadan”, “ Aja Aja Main hoon pyar tera”. While many of my friends rave about  his crazy antics in “ Yahoo, koi mujhe jungle kahe” my personal favorite where it comes to his antics are in the song “ Oh mere sona re sona re..” He is so adorable.. especially in that part of the song where Asha Parekh grabs his bag and breaks the handle!

There were a lot of similar heroes during that period – Biswajeet, Joy Mukherjee but somehow this guy with the green eyes who made weird faces caught every one’s fancy!  He invariably wore a suit in almost all his films so that his girth was well camouflaged. He did not have Dev Anand’s flamboyance but then he was not Dev Anand!  My sister and I used to start giggling whenever we saw Shammi in a sad song like ‘ahsaan tera hog mujh par” but then, as I had mentioned earlier, it was the happiness and energy of love that he was good at portraying not the pain.  He acted with some of the most beautiful heroines of his times- Sharmila, Mumtaz, Saira Bano, Asha Parekh Rajshree…, giving us all so many wonderful films and great songs to remember him by!!
Over the years, Hindi films started being called “Bollywood”  films. They were no longer shot in Simla or Kashmir but in Switzerland. The songs started sounding mundane and heroines began looking like clones of each other ( brown hair, white skin, light eyes). The heroes became muscle men with “six packs” .  FM radio replaced Vividh Bharti in our lives and I moved south where even FM radio did not play any Hindi songs! There was World Space Radio for a while where Radio Farishta took me back to that world.  Television started airing all the shaadi songs from those immensely forgettable movies and I stopped watching it. I think I renounced voluntarily the world I loved so much – that of Hindi films.

But whenever I hear  one of those old Shammi film numbers, I feel that I am on a time machine back to the good old days! Each one of those films seem to be calling out to me  “  bar bar dekho"
Rest in Peace Shammi- Tumse accha kaun hai?


  1. He had his own style for sure....and will be missed by all....

    May his soul rest in peace...!!

  2. Shammi Kapoor is not amongst us... But his songs and acting will be remembered for generations...

    Well said and very fitting farewell to a Legend

  3. Fitting tribute to the veteran actor Meera. We shall sure miss him:(

  4. A legend and a great actor,he had his unique style.

  5. Thank you all. Shammi is irreplaceable..!!!

  6. Awww. Now you made me feel sad! I remember how much I laughed watching him in Junglee - he had what was supposed to be a 'formidable scowl' which only ended up looking hilarious. And remember how he plunges into the Dal Lake at the end of yeh chand sa roshan? Seems the directors had no clue he would do that!! How about that song 'mere bhains ko danda kyon maara?' from pagla kahin ka? Only Shammi Kapoor could have done it!! RIP.

  7. A very nice post Meera, we all will be missing Shammi Kapoor. A person who was most comical in his roles could also carry well the looks of a romantic lover, as in Ahsaan tera...and Tumne mujhe dekha. His role in Andaz was unbeatable and only he could have done that Lal Chadi and Tumse achha kaun hai...!

    From his wild Yaahoo to the rhythmic Ishaaro-ishaaro se.., fromthe moustached lover in Baar baar dekho to that unparallel entertainment in Badan pe sitaarein...he is a legend..And ofcourse, only he could have entwined himself in telephone wires and start the song with Kisssssssssss..kis ko pyar karoo..and he gave the anthem for lovers, Sukoooooo Sukooooo

  8. yaaaa hooooo...chahey koi mujhe junglee kahe...he was awesome...

  9. He was the person whom a lot of people imitated .. he was a brilliant actor

    may he rest in peace .. a beautiful post ...


  10. Namaste....
    Its not about the looks of a person but the spirit of a person, the presences he commanded and how he was able to reach across the screen and tap into your heart and emotions.

    May he rest in peace and his spirit live on infinitely in the loved ones he left behind.

    peace be with you always.

  11. Please, is he the same guy that acted in YER VAH DAH RAH {THE PROMISE} as VIKRAM?.....also in KABIR, KABIR as VICKY?....if so....may his soul rest in peace...i liked his films which were more of love/comedy rather than action...if he is not the same person, please 'enlighten me..tnxx.

    p.s...yeah! am a lover of bollywood!...mum imbibed that in me to my daughters...they can't get over HOTI HOTI.....{something strange had happened} , MY NAME IS KHAN & KRISSH.....i like the classical movies more...than the HYBRID / MODERN films .

    May the departed soul rest in peace.

  12. I adored him as a kid...Nice tribute...

  13. He was a legend. His roles were so full of life!

  14. Though you didn't belong to his generaion, it is obvious he and his performance have had tremendous impact on you and the same comes out in your writing. And the contrast with today's films is striking.

  15. Hi Meera,

    Was trying to send the following message to you via email, but your email is not enabled on blogger, so posting it here.
    With 18 years in the development sector, I'm sure you have an indepth knowledge and incisive perspective about the operations of the sector. I am new to the sector, I quit my corporate job in early 2010, and taught in a low resource school for a year. In a way, it was development sector, as I was part of a mission that was trying to bridge the achievement gap, yet I look at that experience more as teaching experience. It is only now that I have started to work in sector in way that I get to see how it operates. Every day is a new learning, and I'm just absorbing a lot. I'll be interested in reading your experiences in the sector on your blog.


  16. Ohh.. This blog hopping brought me here and I was so amazed to see your post! you won't believe we ended our posts on Shammiji in the exactly same manner!! :)
    He sure was an adorable filmstar!

    Great post and an awesome blog!

  17. As a child I used to wait for Rangoli programme in DD1. I used to dance on the song Yahoo...chahe koi mujhe junglee kahe...

    I liked that song so much...Also O mere Sona re Sona my fav:)

    He was superb!!!!


Post a Comment